Filing a Wrongful Death Claim: 5 Things to Know
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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim: 5 Things to Know

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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim: 5 Things to Know

You know that you have a right to file a wrongful death claim if someone you love has passed away because of another person's negligence, carelessness, or recklessness.

You're not alone—wondering how to file a wrongful death claim is one of the most common concerns people in such situations have. It can seem overwhelming at first glance, and the lawsuit has many moving parts. Furthermore, there is a lot of information to learn if you want to know what's involved in filing a wrongful death suit.

We've put together this article as a resource for anyone who wants to learn more about filing a wrongful death claim. We'll cover everything from the different types of damages available when suing for wrongful death and how they can be used in court to what happens when the defendant doesn't show up for trial. Keep reading.

Lodge a Claim As Soon as Possible

The sooner you file a wrongful death claim, the better. There are two reasons for this. First, every state has a statute of limitations that dictates how long a lawsuit must be filed after an injury or incident. This time limit is typically a few years from the date of death. However, some states have even shorter windows available.

The second reason is that it gives the court and all involved parties time to prepare their cases before a jury. If you wait too long, the court may dismiss your case altogether. This could happen if it's determined that you missed a filing deadline or failed to provide evidence that supports your claims.

You'll Need an Attorney

While it's technically possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit without an attorney, it's not advisable. The process involves many moving parts, and the stakes are high. An experienced wrongful death attorney will know how to navigate the legal system, build a strong case, and get you the compensation after taking the right steps. You can find a wrongful death lawyer near you by doing a search on the internet.

Know the Types of Compensation Available

To file a wrongful death lawsuit, you'll need to know what compensation applies to you and your family. The most common type is economic damage. This includes things like lost wages, funeral expenses, and medical bills.

Non-economic loss can also be awarded in a wrongful death suit. These include mental suffering, loss of companionship and affection, and punitive damages. Such damages are typically only awarded if the defendant's actions were particularly egregious or if there is clear evidence that they acted with malice or intent to harm.

Running Out of Time? There Might Be an Exception

Even if it's been more than a few years since your loved one died, you may still be able to file a wrongful death claim. This is because some states have what are known as ‘tolling provisions.' These are designed to stop the clock on the statute of limitations in certain circumstances.

For example, if the person who caused the death is out of state or in hiding, the clock may not start ticking until they're located. This gives you more time to find an attorney and build your case. There are other situations where tolling may apply, so it's important to speak with an attorney in your state to see if you qualify.

You'll Need to Prove Negligence

To win a wrongful death lawsuit, you'll need to prove that the defendant was negligent. This means they owed your loved one a duty of care and failed to uphold it.

For example, suppose a driver hits and kills a pedestrian crossing the street. In that case, they may be found negligent because they had a duty to drive safely and protect other people on the road. 

Furthermore, if a doctor prescribes a medication that causes serious side effects, they may be found negligent because they had a duty to keep their patients safe and ensure that the medication wouldn't cause harm.

The Bottomline

Filing a wrongful death claim is complex, but knowing your rights and what you're entitled to is important. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can increase the chances of getting the compensation because they know what needs to be done. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask us in the comments!

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